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Now readers, don't twist much of your tongue or recall your phonetics ability  to find out how to pronounce "Mana-Jede" its a name after all, a name in Odiya language. Although not a name in real sense but a part of a phrase of an old odiya saying " Manaj - Jede, Prahbu-Sede" meaning  "Its depth of your Devotion-That signifies divinity of your God". As I recall, the real name of Mana-Jede was, Sankara Das, who was a suspended railway employee, and the reason for his suspension was, that he was crazy, you can say he was MAD.

Once declared Mad, you are mad till the end! some take it negatively and some very positively, like Mana-jede, did. For him it was a life full of freedom and no responsibility to bear. All you have to do, mad or not mad, ignore that you are being called Mad. And he did it all. He was the by default, uninvited guest of all happy and sad occasions of the people of whole Jagtsingpur District. I am just trying to Imagine, how he managed, to mark his presence! Was there some Divine angle? May be.

For he always said..."I was destined to be here, It was written"

Where it was written no one ever knew !

I met him 1st time during a relatives marriage party, clad in saffron coloured clothes, wearing a pagdi,  he was looking like a saint. I was may be 9-10 years old. It was a curious sight!

I asked my mother,"Who is that man?"

My mother smiled and replied," He is Mana-Jede baba" and took me by my hand to him where he was enjoying plate full of meal, where items were piled over one another !

"Bless my son, Baba!" my mother said to Mana-jede.

For a moment, he looked at me and then smiled! and then he said these, putting his unwashed hand over my head !

"He is Collector, Engineer, Doctor Shaib Maa, May God bless him cores years of life, May he become strong like Hanuman, May he have thousand children, grand children and great grand children, may be he become king of the worlds......and I have forgotten the rest!"

My 10 year old mind could not take all the blessings. But my mother was happy, that I was being blessed by him!.

He was considered auspicious. Hence no one disliked his presence, even though an uninvited entity.

It was one occasion, during our Grandmother Dasakriya time (Post Funeral Purification Rituals), Mana-Jede came 3 to 4 days prior to the last day of the 11 day event. My parents and our relatives gave him place to sleep. My mother took good care of him and ensured he is fed well. As a part of the rituals, one have to clean all stuffs in the house from clothes to room etc.

During that time, my mother asked Mana-Jede belongings to be washed and cleaned, although he initially resisted but gave his bundle to my mother.

It contained, few stinking clothes and a bass Lota  and a cracked steel glass. My mother cleaned all of them and put it under the sun to get dried. Till his clothes got dried he took my father's Gamcha and left for the canal to bathe. I think he was getting bathed after days!

After he bathed, my mother asked me to offer him a white dhoti to wear and she offered him a plate full of meal.

While eating, he blessed all of us none stop.....and said at the end,"It was all written Thiala Maa (Mother who belongs to Village Thailo)". My mother Smiled!

After the meal he had a Good afternoon nap. At the evening, my mother gave him the cleaned Bundle.

He was ecstatic and said, " My mother, My Mother, may god bless you thousand years...."

"Ok,Ok" Said my mother.

"It was all written Thilo Ma and it is also written that I  have to go now to the fair going on at the near by village. Will you not give me some money?"

She offed him some money to spend. Happily he went, promising us that he will come next day.

Next few days were busy, we all forget of him, even on the 11th day he was not there. We only got to know when, some out of jest, told where is that Mad, Mana-Jede?, he is no where around!

On the 14th day, he came,  while we are arranging a Puja at home. We heard some one crying out side!

It was Mana-Jede, crying on the top of his voice.....

When he saw my mother,  he cried with more force and said..

"Thaila Maa, I am ruined! I am robbed!?"

"What happened? " my mother asked.

"Maa, That bundle you cleaned....some one stole it....eee.... I am Ruined"

By then village kids, men and women gathered. Some one from the gathering told mockingly.

"It was all written, Mana-jede, it was written"

"What written?!! you bloody F#$%$ A$$......" for next few minutes Mana-jede uttered nastiest of words....

Village old men scolded him and hissed him up.....some even raised hand to slap on his face.

"Leave the mad man alone........" some old one shouted.

My mother felt guilty, she thought she would have left his stinking clothes as it is.

Then on, I had never heard of Mana-Jede, I left Bhubanswar and going village became a rare chance!
some 15 years has passed in between.

"Was it all Written ! I think So!"

I heard from a distant cousin recently, Mana-jade is no more.

His book must had been a thicker one unlike us with a page or two to count!

( A representative Image: Source Google Image)


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